Dozens of former staffers and colleagues of gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist have endorsed his opponent, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
Crist is the former Republican governor of Florida who later became an Independent before he joined the Democratic Party and was elected to the House of Representatives. He’s currently running against DeSantis, a Republican.
“Together, we have known Charlie in virtually all phases of his career and public life,” the open letter stated. “We are well-qualified to endorse in the Florida Governors’ race because we have significant experience in public service to the state of Florida.”
George LeMieux, former U.S. Senator of Florida and Crist’s former chief of staff, signed onto the letter. Other individuals who signed include former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp, former Agricultural Commissioner Charles Bronson, former Attorney General Bill McCollum, former Crist chief counsel Jason Gonzales, and former State Senate President Kenn Pruitt, as well as dozens more.
“Governor DeSantis has delivered for Florida. He has led our state with courage and conviction. He has demonstrated his ability to lead us through difficult times,” they added. “We stand with Governor DeSantis because the stakes are too high. We urge Florida to re-elect Ron DeSantis as our Governor.”
Crist won his gubernatorial election as a Republican in 2006 but didn’t seek reelection and instead ran for the Senate in 2010, ultimately losing to now-Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). As he ran for Senate, Crist left the GOP and became an Independent before becoming a Democrat, running for governor in 2014, and losing. He was elected to Congress in 2016 and stepped down earlier this year.
On Monday evening, DeSantis and Crist held their first and only debate. At one point, DeSantis brushed off Crist’s claims that the Republican governor wants to run for president in 2024.
“You’re running for governor,” Crist said. “Why don’t you look in the eyes of the people of the state of Florida and say to them if you’re re-elected, you will serve a full four-year term as governor. Yes or no?” DeSantis said he’s only looking to defeat Crist and be reelected as Florida’s governor.
“I know that Charlie’s interested in talking about 2024 and Joe Biden, but I just want to make things very, very clear,” DeSantis said. “The only worn out old donkey I’m looking to put out to pasture is Charlie Crist.”
DeSantis has not publicly affirmed whether he is seeking a presidential bid in 2024.
The Epoch Times has contacted Crist’s campaign for comment on the letter.